Early voting in the March 3 Texas primary elections is underway and continues through Friday, Feb. 28. El Paso Matters is tracking the demographic profile of El Paso voters and will update the turnout details as data become available each day. If you have a question about voter demographics, email bmoore@elpasomatters.org. Here’s how things look after eight days of early voting.

Total turnout

The number of Democratic primary voters neared 19,000 on Wednesday’s eighth day of early voting, more than the total Democratic turnout in all 11 days of early voting in the 2016 presidential primary. Based on historical patterns, total early voting in the Democratic primary may approach 30,000 when the early voting period ends on Friday.

Republican turnout of 5,500 is about 60 percent higher than at the same point in 2016 early voting, meaning it’s likely the GOP will easily surpass the 8,300 early votes cast in the last presidential primary.

The highest primary early voting turnout in El Paso came in 2008, when a hotly contested Democratic primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton drew more than 50,000 early voters. Republicans had about 10,000 primary voters that year.

Previous voter history

The turnout increase over 2016 in both parties is being driven by people who didn’t vote in the primaries four years ago. That’s especially true for Republicans.

More than two in five Democratic primary voters so far this year didn’t cast a primary ballot in 2016. For Republicans, a staggering four out of five primary voters this year sat out the 2016 primaries in El Paso.

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986.